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Venue: Churchill Downs
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Track Info: A mile and a quarter in length.
The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race that is held at Kentucky in early May. It follows the two week Derby Festival that is also held in Kentucky. Owing to the two minute duration of this 2 km race it is popularly known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" in America. "The Run for the Roses" is its other common name given owing to the blanket of 554 roses that is presented to the winner. It draws a healthy crowd of around 155,000 fans.
Kentucky is popular for superior horse breeding and races since the late eighteenth century when a Colonel visiting England, attended Epsom Derby, which was a popular annual race. After England the Col. traveled to France in the mid 1800 where a racing fanatic group had assembled a club that and had organized arranged the Grand Prix de Paris, one of the best races of that time.
The record for the quickest time for covering the standard distance was set in the early 1970’s by secretariat as opposed to the earlier record set in 1964. In the Triple Crown races he recorded successive fast quarters. This record stands to date.
It is followed by time recorded by Sham who finished in the second place after Secretariat. And Monarchos set the record for the third place held in 2001.
In 2004 the jockeys wore corporate advertising logos on their clothes. The following year saw a change in the purse distribution according to which a specific quota was also allotted to the horses that finished fifth as opposed to the share given only to the first four placements.
Norman Adams is the designer for the current Kentucky Derby Logo that is being used since 2002. In February 2006, a corporate sponsorship deal was reached between a fast food company and the Derby race authorities. The name of the fast-food company was the Yum! Brands and according to the deal the race was to be called "The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands.”
Other than the race there are several other games that are held at Derby and that contribute to the Derby atmosphere that is heavily associated with games. A traditional sweet iced drink is served at all the Derby games that are a mixture of bourbon, mint and sugar syrup. It is commonly known as the Mint Julep. This historical drink is served in a silver julep cup that is frosted. Several of the spectators drink their Mint Julep in a keepsake glass that has the earlier Derby winners imprinted on it. Apart from that a stew named burgoo that is made up of the beef, chicken and vegetables.
This tradition is carried out as an aftermath of the New York socialite E. Berry Wall who presented 556 roses to the ladies present at the post-Derby party in the early 1880’s. This occasion was marked by Col. M. Lewis Clark’s and Churchill’s attendance which gave them the idea for appointment of roses’ as the official flower for the race.
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